In less than two weeks, on October 22, municipal elections will be held across the country. There is no doubt that local elections have meaningful ramifications for each locality.
The direct and daily impact a mayor has on the residents of a particular locality are great. However, just as important are the long-term strategic implications of how a city is led and guided.
In the case of Jerusalem, the ramifications are extremely great. Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people and the beating heart of our nation and the world.
Jerusalem is more than just another city; its role in the destiny of our people is substantive as well as symbolic.
Especially in these times when the eyes of the world are on our capital, the centrality and importance of Jerusalem is increased ten-fold.
Jerusalem requires not only a mayor, but a leader. Our holy and indivisible capital city demands someone who has a deeper understanding of its past so it can be led to a strong and secure future. Jerusalem needs a leader whose values and beliefs match those of us who fight daily in the diplomatic and political realm to protect its future.
Moshe Lion is such a leader.
I have known and worked with Moshe for many years in his many capacities, either when he was director- general of the Prime Minister’s Office, chairman of Israel Railways and most recently, chairman of the Jerusalem Development Authority.
In each of these positions, Moshe worked hard for the development of Jerusalem and was personally responsible for bringing in hundreds of millions of shekels for projects, like improving the tourism industry and infrastructure, refurbishing the Old Train Station area and building parks, recreation areas and bicycle paths.
He was also responsible for pushing through the plan for the new highspeed train that will travel between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in 28 minutes, currently under construction. In fact, unbeknown to many residents of Jerusalem, Moshe’s hard work can be felt across the city in the daily life of its residents. The reason many did not know his name until recently was because of his behind-the-scenes role and his modest personality. He did not want or need the adulation of headlines or elaborate photo-opportunities.
Moshe did his work entirely voluntary, because of his love for the city that is in the heart of every Israeli and every Jew around the world.
Moreover, Moshe is a man steeped in the heritage and destiny of our people, especially the lands Israel liberated 46 years ago.
Jerusalem needs to be led by someone with strong roots in the national camp. Moshe has a strong record, not only in developing all parts of Jerusalem, but also working on behalf of our capital city’s enduring unity.
That is why Jerusalem desperately requires someone who will unhesitatingly and definitively hold on to every inch of Jerusalem and will not say they support a “united Jerusalem” with one side of their mouth while calling for parts to be given away with the other.
During the intense fighting for Jerusalem during the War of Independence, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, stated why, even though it was strategically costly, the warriors of the nascent Jewish state would fight to the end for the holy city.
“If a land can have a soul, Jerusalem is the soul of the Land of Israel,” Ben- Gurion said.
Unfortunately, 65 years later, we are still fighting for Jerusalem, for every inch, every day. For our ultimate success, we need someone who understands not only how to manage the city for the good of its residents, but someone who also understands the underlying historic, religious and national reasons why we fight so hard for its present and its future.
We need someone who comes from and has always lived in the national camp, has never moved across the political spectrum depending on political circumstances and never uttered concessionist policies about the division of Jerusalem.
Thus, we have a chance in a few days for Jerusalem to have a strong right-wing government and a mayor supporting our ideals in our capital, a vital combination for the challenges that lie ahead.
There is a clear choice for the residents of Jerusalem. The national camp is confident that Moshe Lion, our candidate, will improve the city for its residents and will retain the unity of our holy city and guard its walls for the good of the State of Israel and its people.
The author is Israel’s tourism minister.
In the past he served as internal security minister, national infrastructure minister, as well as minister responsible for the intelligence and strategic dialogue between the US and Israel.